Blackhawks lineup changes surprise, raise questions after Game 3


Blackhawks lineup changes surprise, raise questions after Game 3

Coach Joel Quenneville hinted that there would be changes on Thursday night, giving his patented, “we’ll see” when asked about the lineup.

He wasn’t kidding, and the changes were surprising: Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen were out and Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom were in for Game 3 against the Anaheim Ducks. The game’s outcome wasn’t decided by the changes – please see that awful power play – but they certainly left one wondering why they were made.

Quenneville said he was looking for “fresh legs” when he put in Versteeg and Nordstrom, neither of whom had played since the first round against the Nashville Predators. It was an interesting turn of events following Game 2, a triple-overtime victory in Anaheim, given Quenneville rarely makes changes following a triumph. But there it was nonetheless.

“Steeger didn’t play for a long stretch and we wanted to get him back in there,” Quenneville said. “It was a tough day the other day with travel and we wanted to bring new guys in.”

[MORE: Ducks dominate third period again in postseason]

So did the changes have the desired effect?

“I thought we had a good start with that, good first period, energy,” he said. “The power play may have lost momentum. The second period they got it back and obviously scored a big one at the end.”

The changes did alter the lines; Andrew Shaw was moved to center the third line with Patrick Sharp and Versteeg, and Nordstrom was on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Andrew Desjardins.

Versteeg found out earlier Thursday he was playing in Game 3.

“The first two shifts it was like I was standing in the speedway,” said Versteeg, who played 13:31. “It was going pretty quick. Once the game progressed, I thought I settled in nicely. Obviously would have liked to tuck one away for the guys to help them out. All in all, I felt pretty good tonight.”

As we said, it’s surprising that Quenneville changed things after a victory. It was also strange to hear the “tired legs” reason. At Wednesday’s availability, Quenneville was asked about his top defensemen’s high minutes, and if he was concerned about the potential wear and tear to them.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“They just had 10 days off,” he said. “So I feel pretty good about it.”

Asked if Vermette and/or Teravainen were hurt, Quenneville said they were “fine.” Teravainen certainly seemed healthy on Thursday morning, when he participated in an optional skate and talked to the media following it. But is Vermette healthy? Maybe he is. But this is the postseason, when no one dares mention injuries.

We’ll find out more in the coming days. Will the Blackhawks go back to the lineup they had prior to Game 3? Quenneville said, “we’ll consider all our options.”

The lineup changes weren’t the reason why the Blackhawks lost on Thursday. But if both players are healthy, it also seems those lineup changes weren’t necessary.

Top 6 Blackhawks pop culture salutes ever


Top 6 Blackhawks pop culture salutes ever

The Original Six team with six Stanley Cups in franchise history known as the Chicago Blackhawks has gotten plenty of salutes from movies, TV shows and other avenues of entertainment over the years. Here are the top six pop culture nods according to us:

6. The Dilemma

The 2011 comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James features lengthy scenes shot at actual Blackhawks games at the United Center in 2010. Even Blackhawks arena announcer Gene Honda has lines in the picture. 

5. Sudden Death 

Jean-Claude Van Damme. There's nothing else needed to defend this selection. But, the 1995 action flick puts the Blackhawks against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, of course with the Vice President in attendance.

Actual storyline: The Pittsburgh Civic Arena is wired with explosives that could destroy the whole city. It's up to arson investigator Darren McCord to stop it before the game ends. 

The movie even spawned a delightful song in a Chris Pratt Parks and Rec deleted scene. 

4. NHL '94 Roenick in Swingers

Vaughn and co. play the 1994 installment of the EA Sports NHL video game in the 1996 film with the Blackhawks taking on the LA Kings and hilarity ensues. 

3. Queen's We Will Rock You music video

Off the 1977 album "News of the World", the music video for We Will Rock You features bassist John Deacon sporting a sweet Hawks letterman-type jacket. 

2. Christmas Vacation 

[*Strong language]

"The silent majesty of a winter's morn; the clean, cool chill of the holiday air...." 

This Blackhawks shoutout in the classic Christmas comedy is too great not to make the top 2. You'll still see "Griswold" white Blackhawks jerseys pop up at the United Center during the holiday season to saltue the 1989 film. Rusty also wears a red Hawks sweater when Clark is putting the infamous bright lights on the house. 

1. Wayne's World

It might be a predictable No.1 pick, but come on. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey worked the Hawks into this iconic 1992 comedy in an epic way. The duo also gave the Blackhawks a big shoutout on Feb. 15, 2015 when Mike Myers wore a Hawks sweater as Wayne in a Wayne's World sketch for SNL's 40th anniversary. 

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Patrick Kane’s love-hate relationship with St. Louis fans highlight of 2020 NHL All-Star Game

USA Today

Patrick Kane’s love-hate relationship with St. Louis fans highlight of 2020 NHL All-Star Game

ST. LOUIS — Patrick Kane has been booed all weekend in St. Louis and the nine-time Blackhawks All-Star poked a little bit of fun at Blues fans for their, shall we say, warm welcoming. But Saturday put the crowd in a weird spot.

On one hand, Kane is an arch rival in St. Louis. On the other, he represented the Central Division and was teammates with the four Blues All-Stars (Jordan Binnington, Ryan O'Reilly, David Perron and Alex Pietrangelo).

After falling into a 3-0 hole to the Pacific Division, the Central Division stormed back for three straight goals. Perron scored the second goal, which drew huge cheers. Fourteen seconds later, Kane scored the equalizer, which also drew loud cheers. 

But then the St. Louis fans realized who had scored and Kane had some fun with them by holding his glove up to his ear. 

"Tried to like put my hand up to my ear to hear the boos," Kane said. "But then I was showing them that hey, I’m playing with the Blues players, I’ve got the same jersey as them. Just had fun with it. "

The Blues found themselves conflicted for a second time when Kane evened the score at 5-5 after converting on a breakaway. The interaction between Kane and the crowd was the most memorable moment of the night.

"It’s all in good fun," Kane said following a 10-5 loss to the Pacific Division. "To be honest with you, sometimes you get booed, you kind of like it a little bit. It’s St. Louis and Chicago, it’s a huge rivalry. Not only in hockey, but pretty much every other sport they play against each other. I guess that’s only baseball, but, you know what? Had a lot of fun this weekend and I thought that was a pretty cool moment."

Even the Blues had fun with it.

"Those were boos," a smiling Pietrangelo said. "Not cheers."

But at least somebody had sympathy for Kane.

"I felt bad for Kaner," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "He comes out in his introductions and is getting booed and stuff and then he scores and they're cheering for him. Tough situation for him. Players all know. They all handle it very well. It's a fun event."

In the end, it provided entertainment and brought some life to the event. What Kane is really trying to figure out is why he's snake bitten at All-Stars Games. He hasn't won since 2012 in Ottawa when Team Zdeno Chara defeated Team Daniel Alfredsson 12-9 under the fantasy draft format.

"I know, right?" Kane said. "Central can’t get over the hump. We won one last year and lost in the final. I think every time you look at the roster, you always think you have a really good roster with some of the players that are on the team, and for whatever reason we can’t do it."

The Central Division slipped to 1-5 under the 3-on-3 format, but Kane may have a solution on how to fix their struggles.

"Maybe it would be better if the Central played an Eastern team next year or something," Kane said half-jokingly. "Maybe you could switch it up that way."

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